What Information Is Needed to Make a Strong Defense for Wrongful Termination
Wrongful termination is a severe accusation for a company to deal with; however, there are many misconceptions about what wrongful termination is and what it isn’t. Some employers may be under the impression that if the company lets them go for reasons that “aren’t fair,” that they were wrongfully terminated, but that isn’t the case. Unless they have an employment agreement in place that specifies the terms of employment, an “at will” employment relationship means that an employer can fire someone for having any reason or no reason at all, as long as the reason is not unlawful.
So what IS considered wrongful termination? Wrongful termination is being fired because of reasons that are protected by federal or state law: You can’t legally be let go because of your sex, age, race, or religion, or because you complained about sexual harassment or were injured on the job. In addition to these protected statutes some states protect sexual orientation status, whistleblower status, and certain forms of speech in the workplace.
What is needed for a strong defense of wrongful termination allegations?
If you have certain systems already in place, it will be much easier to defend against these allegations.
Having documentation regarding your interactions and job progress with each employee can be very valuable. If the employee has had any negative evaluations, disciplinary actions, warnings, altercations with other employees, etc. having documentation that shows you were reasonable in terminating the employee will be a strong defense if they claim it was due to being of a protected class.
Policies and Procedures:
Having very clear company policies for your employees that are enforceable and enforced equally (Enforcing policies to only certain employees may strengthen their case against you). These policies should outline disciplinary procedures, termination policies, and standards of conduct.
Having a Good Defense Attorney
One of the best ways to make a strong defense is to hire a strong employment law defense attorney. The attorneys at Cleary Shahi & Aicher have the experience and resources to protect your company’s reputation against allegations of wrongful actions in connection with employment due to gender, race, age, disability, work related injury or other protected status. Contact or call us today at 802-775-8800 to schedule a free initial consultation.